It's arguable that Annika Sorenstam is the best woman golfer of all time given the time she played in and the level of international competition. What's certain is that as great a golfer she is, she's an even better person.
Her career came to an "end" yesterday at the Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour, fittingly the organization she started her career with. Her 1 under 71 gave her 7th place in the event she'd won twice previously. The golf gods deemed it necessary that she birdie her final hole. She acknowledged the crowd, then hugged her long time looper Terry McNamara. “I have had many farewells since I announced my decision some five months back, but this one was special,” Sorenstam said.
Her career achievements are a longer read than War and Peace. 10 major championships, 59 LPGA victories, 16 additional international wins, a 59 in an LPGA event, and member of the Hall of Fame. All of this in a few short years since her pro debut in 1994. Surely her numbers would have only increased should she not have "retired". After all, she won three times this year and is among the top players in almost every statistical category. At age 38 she definitely has great years left as Julie Inkster and Vijay Singh have proven.
The tease is her not actually using the word retirement. Her desire to start a family and tend to her business interests is understandable. Let's assume she and fiance Mike McGee are off to a fast start and the little girl/boy arrives about a year from now. Allow a year to get the new one off to a great start and we could be seeing the reemergence of Annika in the spring of 2011. Just in time to remind the likes of Wie, Tseng, Creamer, Lewis, and Shin who is the rightful throne holder. Musings? Certainly, but possible. If not, relish the memories this great lady has given us over the years.